Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Metrics to track your portfolio performance. A look at Shutterstock

The aim of using metrics is to monitor the performance of your portfolio month after month. Financial metrics are not the only ones to measure performance but non-financial ones can also help making decision about your photo production.

The obvious financial metric we all use is the total monthly revenue. Some photographers are looking at $/download and return per image (RPI). Each metric can give indication about how your pictures are performing on each agency.
To be able to use these metrics at the end of the month, you should compare them to targets you have set target at the beginning for example total monthy revenue and RPI to reach. $/dl is mostly useful for credit based agencies like FT,123RF,SXP (even if they do sub), does not bring anything for SS which will be $ 0.33/dl in my case if did not have EL.

RPI is a very useful metric to measure how your pictures are selling at a particular agency. Based on my portfolio (no people pictures, no vectors) my targets for RPI at SS are the following:
  • RPI> $ 0.50 excellent
  • RPI between $ 0.25 and $ 0.5 average to good
  • RPI< $ 0.25 poor
The problem with RPI is that it a metrics related to new and old pictures from the portfolio. Anyway, I propose a modified RPI which I call batchRPI which like it says is related to your monthly batch. It is a direct indication of the quality of your batch and it can give also indirectly indication about the lifespan of the batch: the idea here is that if you maximize bRPI, you are lickely to see the benefits even the following month. Also , these pictures are likely to sell well on other sites like IS,123RF,DT,FT on the longer term.

How to calculate batchRPI ?

First evaluate the size of your batch accepted at SS: from the main page, click on waiting to be reviewed . Then on status of submitted photos click on the approved photos tab and count day by day.

Then the painful one... From the downloads stats open each day stat and count how did you earn for the batch.

bRPI = batch earnings/batch size

The way how SS works is that newly uploaded pictures sold straight away with more or less success then sell occasionally in the following months. Following this logic, a good bRPI in May is likely to have positive impact on the RPI in June.

Some graphs !

  • bRPI March 2007

Initial bRPI was 1.14 which is average and represented 34 % of total earnings this month. Interestingly, this batch managed to kept his value in April with a bRPI=0.92. In June, however bRPI went down and will represent only 2% of the earnings....

  • bRPI May 2007

This batch had a very good initial value with bRPI=2.08. It was a batch of 45 pictures which earned 2.08*45=$ 93.6 (73% of earnings!). Will this batch hold his value or not? So far I saw I bRPI in June was divided by more than 2.


bRPI> 1 : very good to excellent (new pictures made at least $ 1 in average)
bRPI between 0.33 and 1 : average
bRPI = 0.33 (new pictures sold only once in average)

SXP May 2008: bRPI= 0.26 (63% of earnings coming from new pictures!), RPI = 0.10

Enough for financial measures, the two non financial metrics I will follow will be the monthly acceptance rates at SS and IS. Looking at the other acceptance rates in their other will not bring much since they are too high or too fluctuating. As it is not useful to measure too many things I will discard as metric the sell through rate (STR) which does not say much about month to month performance.